I’m Chinese and Americans getting offended over a British takeaway is the dumbest thing ever

This new trend has sinophobic undertones

Over the past day or so, I’ve had the misfortune of witnessing the viral TikTok trend of Americans hating on British Chinese takeaways. Some have branded them “disgusting” and “gross” after watching a couple of Brits lather curry sauce on their fried prawn toast, pick out salt and pepper chips and enjoy their humble servings of chicken balls.

Of all the nations, I find it laughable that Americans hate on us when their “small” portion of wings are an XL over here – there’s essentially a mini chicken farm in each of their buckets. And don’t they drown their deep fried butter sticks in ranch sauce and squirty cheese too? But that’s besides the point. They can eat what they want, I don’t care. But what I want to make extremely clear is that no one is arguing for the authenticity of British Chinese takeaway foods.

No one looks at a piece of prawn toast, soggy with curry sauce, and thinks to themselves “Ah, traditional Chinese food from Beijing,” I promise you that. As a British born Chinese man, trust me, I’m not the main customer demographic for these wonderful little takeaways either. Mum and Dad make it better. So like I said, please understand that I am not arguing for the authenticity of British Chinese food – but I am defending it.

You have to understand the history behind this. Hard-working, immigrant Chinese families have had to come to post-war Britain and set up a living for themselves in the 50s and 60s. Without them, most of the UK wouldn’t have had fried noodles or a single spring roll grace their lips. Yet, they’ve had to come overseas and start businesses of their own with British palates in mind – their British Chinese takeaway food, believe it or not, is a result of having to satisfy post-war, white taste buds.

In a world devoid of immigrant flavour, Chinese takeaways had to incorporate pies, chips and bread in their menus. And I don’t think these Chinese takeaway owners did this because they believed it was the authentic Chinese food that reminds them of home. They did it because they had to appeal to their new customer base, and ultimately make a wise business decision.

I can’t help but find that these TikToks bashing takeaways are definitely tinged with sinophobia. By hating on British Chinese food and the takeaways themselves, you’re essentially hating on the hard-working, Chinese immigrant families who have travelled so far and tried so hard to appeal to the UK customer base.

They’ve sacrificed real authenticity in order to pacify inexperienced, post-war British taste buds , and I fail to see how it’s the Chinese takeaways that should be blamed for this. So stop hating them for their “inauthentic” Chinese food – every single Chinese person knows what their own cuisine is, and these owners are no different. 

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